This chapter is very, very different from anything I've ever written. Some may like it and some may be creeped out haha. Also, I don't proofread.. Ever, so please forgive me for any mistakes.
January 23, 2006
No one ever accused me of being able to handle my liquor.
October 31, 1997
Hard liquor. Soft liquor. Cheap liquor. Expensive liquor. Stolen liquor.
So many to choose from, yet frighteningly all were present in Ana's body. Her head hung low, heavy and clouded. Her eyes were barely open - even if they were, it's not like she could possibly make sense of anything surrounding her. She knew there was noise - lots of it - in the background, but her head was too fuzzy to make anything out. She had the urge to laugh; who knew that an innocent girl, regarded as the "golden child", could reach such pathetic depths?
She felt something wet on her exposed thigh. Barely able to move her head, she looked down at her pale skin, just visible underneath the hem of her skirt.
It was drool.
She tried to close her mouth and actually thought she had succeeded, but after her thigh kept collecting puddles of spittle, she realized her efforts were futile. She reached up, trying to grab onto something - someone, at least - to help her up, but her weak arm fell back down to her sides.
Help me, she screamed in her head. She wasn't sure her body was capable of making any sounds, or even if her brain was able to articulate any words. She looked around: there were people laughing, bodies mashed up together - moving against each other in synch to the beat of whatever horrible song was playing - there were people kissing, others sitting on the ground, their heads between their knees.
Everyone had something to do, something to think about, something to focus on, except Ana. She was in a room full of people, but yet no one saw her.
Look at me, she called. Look at me.
She wanted to yell, to scream, to do anything, but yet she couldn't move. She felt invisible, like she didn't exist. Why was no one seeing her... Paying attention?
Can't they see me?
She moved her body off of the chair, trying to stand up. She felt sick, and not just sick because of all the alcohol she consumed, but she felt a deep despair. Anguish. Dread. She could feel her chest tightening, her stomach dropping. She grabbed onto the wall as she stood, trying desperately to hold her own weight. As she stood, the room around her spun, the neon green lights giving her a headache. She looked at the moving bodies, but they were no longer in-sync. They were slow, distorted.. Unnatural. Their arms and limbs looked like they were darting sporadically, almost as if towards Ana. Reaching out for her.
She turned away, her heart starting to race. She focused on the wall, tracing her hand alongside the plaster. Her vision and coordination were completely off, making the simple act of walking almost impossible. She felt her body slipping, her head spinning to the point where she was almost nauseous.
Please don't fall, she pleaded with herself.
Ana held onto the wall tighter, her nails digging into the paint and causing it to chip. Her head started to pound, the edges of her vision turning black. She didn't think she could hold on any longer. She turned her head once again to the crowd, the flashing lights in the room causing her head to pound even harder and her stomach to roil.
"Help," she called out, but no one stopped. Their bodies continued to move, their limbs darting outwards.
"Help!" she screamed, her eyes snapping shut from the exhaustion and pain of yelling.
She opened her eyes once again - slowly - and the room was different. The lights were no longer a neon green, but instead a bright white. They flickered on and off - like strobe lights - and the kids were no longer moving. They turned and stared at her, their eyes menacing and unblinking. The music stopped and it was completely silent - so silent that Ana could hear her own harsh breathing.
She froze, fear creeping into her body like a snake slithering over the grass. Goosebumps rose on her skin, the hair on the back of her neck stood up.
"Can you help me?" She whispered, her voice riddled with anxiety and confusion.
The teenagers continued to stare, their eyes unmoving; however, their orbs darkened almost to the point of complete absence of the pupils. A slow smile moved across their lips, the smile so wide it almost reached across their whole face.
Ana backed away, her heart pounding against her chest.
"Stop staring at me," she whispered to the crowd of teens.
They stood still, their smile never ceasing.
"Stop staring at me!" She yelled, her voice ragged and terrified. She continued to back away, her legs moving as quickly as they possible could.
"Why, Ana?" The crowd asked, their voices ringing out as one.
Ana yelled, fear paralyzing her whole body. Tears started to stream down her face, her chest almost ready to explode from the forceful pumping of her heart. Ana turned around to run, no longer able to face the monstrous and terrifying smiles of the strangers.
"Don't you want me?"
As Ana turned, she was met with the crowds of teens, their smiles still in place and their eyes still black; however, this time they all had the face of Christian.
She gasped, dread streaming throughout her veins. Their smiles widened, so wide that skin fell off their faces, blood dripping from their lips. Ana screamed a blood-curdling scream, unadulterated terror laced with every note. She turned away once again, running away from the grotesque and distorted faces of the crowd.
Ana ran away as quickly as possible, her coordination and vision clearing up under pressure. Her heart was racing and her breathes were ragged and rushed. She heard the crowd following her, their laughs and jeers following her every move.
"Don't run, Ana... Come back and play."
She turned the corner, only a few strides away from the front door. As she ran towards the exit, a Christian-look-alike ran in front of her. Ana screamed, cowering away from the imposter.
"Leave me alone!"
"Look at what you're doing to me, Ana," the clone demanded, it's eyes turning malicious. The joyful and mocking smile was long gone, covered by a belligerent sneer.
The Christian clone clawed at it's face, the skin peeling off in large chunks. "Is this what you want?"
Ana pushed passed him, opening the door. She ran through, racing passed the long line of cars and bright lights adorned along the driveway. She sprinted, not looking back or even caring what direction she was headed in. The only thing Ana focused on was getting around from the monstrous crowd. She kept pushing, her legs burning and lungs screaming for air.
The last thing Ana remembered was falling, her head hitting the concrete. She felt a gush of liquid run down her forehead and then everything went black.
October 31, 1997
She opened her eyes. To her relief, she was not met with the dark, menacing eyes of the Christian impersonators. As Ana looked around, she realized her vision was much clearer and her head was not as cloudy; but to her chagrin, she realized that her head was throbbing even worse than when she passed out. She raised her hand to her temple and noticed a long, jagged gash on the side of her forehead. She winced at the tenderness.
"Don't touch it, baby," her mom chided softly.
Ana looked to her left and realized her whole family was in the room. She frowned - why was she just now noticing? Her father, mother, and oldest brother looked concerned, but mostly relieved that she was up. On the other hand, there was Christian... and he looked much like the monsters she had seen the night before. She groaned and turned away.
"What happened?" She asked, her voice raspy.
"You fell," her father answered, "off a two-story balcony." He winced as he said the words, but there was an undertone of anger in his voice.
Ana gasped. A balcony?
"What are you talking about? I wasn't even near a balcony..."
"According to you, you were also 'skating' last night, so we can't really take your word for anything, now can we?" Christian snapped.
"Christian," Grace warned, frowning in his direction.
He rolled his eyes, crossing his arms and looking down at the white and black tile of the hospital floor. His eyebrows were furrowed and his lips pursed into a hard line. He was seriously upset, but Ana couldn't understand why.
"I.. I.." Ana started, wanting to explain herself; but, she realized there wasn't a good explanation for her actions. She deliberately lied to her parents and got wasted at a party - she wasn't looking like the 'golden child' now. "I'm sorry.." She whispered, not having anything else to say.
Her family looked down, not accepting nor rejecting her apology. None of them were sure what to say or how to feel. Did they scold her? Feel sorry for her? Be happy that she isn't dead? In all honesty, they probably felt a mixture of all of those emotions.
"Lie back down, I'll go get you some more medicine for your head," Grace soothed, her gentle manner not even allowing her to be as upset as she should be.
"Ana, we have to ask you.." Her father started, looking fairly awkward, "did you take any recreational drugs last night? There were high amounts of LSD in your system.."
Ana gasped, her eyes widening. She might drink from time to time, but she was completely against drugs of all kind.
"No, I swear," she denied. As she thought about it, she felt sick to her stomach. Her head spun and her stomach roiled.
"Are you sure? It's okay to tell us," he coaxed.
"I'm not lying," she insisted.
Christian scoffed. "Then how'd it get there?" He said, his voice laced with disbelief and anger.
"I don't know," Ana groaned.
Actually, there was not much she remembered at all from last night. She doesn't remember how she got there, where the party was at, or what happened during the party. There was only one thing she remembered and that was the horrifying faces of the crowd. She shuddered as she remembered the vivid hallucination.
"Yeah, well we don't know either," Christian snapped, his eyes glowing with frustration.
"Oh, please don't pretend to be the patron saint!" Ana snapped back, "we all know what you do in your free time," she growled.
"Okay, that's enough," Carrick stated, "everybody outside." He pointed to Christian and Elliot.
"Ugh, everybody please stop yelling," Elliot whispered, clutching his head. His eyes were adorned with thick, black shades.
Seems like Ana wasn't the only one who had a fun time last night.
Elliot and Christian exited the room, softly shutting the door behind them. Carrick looked at Ana, his face clouded with a multitude of emotions. He frowned, unsure of how things had gotten here. Ana was the last person he had expected to pull a stunt like this.
"Are you okay?" He asked gently, but he wasn't sure what he was actually asking about. Was she okay physically? Mentally? Emotionally? Something had to be wrong for his baby girl to act like this.
"I'm fine," Ana said, her voice cracking. If she were being honest, she didn't actually know is she was fine.
Her eyes watered and tears threatened to spill over her cheeks. She felt ashamed. After everything, she didn't deserve to cry... To feel sorry for herself. It was her fault, wasn't it?
"I just want to be alone... I'm sleepy," she lied.
Carrick nodded his head, frowning. Was she safe to leave alone? He knew her mother would be back soon, so he decided to give her some space. Of course he would be standing right outside the door, however.
He gently kissed her forehead, silently telling her everything would be okay. Ana's tears finally spilled over, her heart heavy with confusion and guilt. What was going on in the world?
Three days earlier...
"Okay, that's actually horrible," Ana giggled, looking at Jack's haphazard portrait of herself.
"I tried my best," he argued, frowning.
She shook her head. "Yeah, maybe if you were five," she teased, hopping off the desk. She looked at the clock - it was definitely passed school hours, but apparently Jack and Ana were 'studying'. And by studying, they meant making silly drawings and gossiping about the students and staff.
"Well, not everyone can be as gifted as you," Jack said earnestly.
Ana blushed, one because of how sincere his comment was, two because of how his eyes lit up when he looked at her. Despite all of the pep talks she tried to give herself about not crushing on her student teacher, she couldn't help but notice how good looking he actually was.
"Barely," she argued, "You've only seen one drawing of mine and I worked on it for weeks. Try seeing what my doodles look like."
"Nope," he said, shaking his head, "I refuse to let you downplay your talent."
Ana rolled her eyes, but inwardly she felt pleased from his approval. She wasn't sure why, but she found herself wanting to impress him every chance she got. She walked over to his desk, looking at the stacks of papers riddled all over the surface. She turned towards him.
"Really? It's been a week and you still haven't graded our papers?" She mock-complained.
He stuck his tongue out at her. "Now how could I do that when I'm always preoccupied after school?"
"There's weekends," she argued.
"My weekends are spent planning how I can ruin the life of one of my life-long enemies," Jack deadpanned, his eyes looking shockingly cold and dead.
Ana laughed, a hint of confusion and fear laced in her voice. She wasn't actually sure if he was being serious. He smiled a crooked smile, which somewhat relaxed Ana, but she still felt a sick feeling in her stomach. She quickly turned away, not able to look at him when he smiled. Yeah, he was cute, but every time he smiled that way she was reminded of someone she recently started to hate thinking about.
She didn't like thinking about him, not because of the fact that she didn't like him, but because of the fact that it was harder and harder to understand how she felt about him. Everything had been so simple when she was younger. He was her big brother and she was his little sister. They did everything together and loved each other with unconditional love only kids could give... But now, she wasn't sure what she wanted from him. And the thoughts she had about him weren't ones you would think about your older brother.
"I should go," Ana decided, once again looking at the clock. It was almost five and she no longer felt in the mood for silly drawings. She groaned, even when Christian isn't there, he's still affecting her.
"Aw, c'mon, don't be mad at me for not grading the papers."
Ana smiled, "I'm not mad. It's just pretty late and my parents will probably be wondering where I am," she explained as she gathered her belongings into her tote bag.
"Fair enough, I'll see you tomorrow."
She nodded her assent and was making her way towards the door when Jack suddenly grabbed her wrist. Ana spun around, a questioning look on her face.
"You're a really good kid, you know that?" Jack muttered, his eyes warm and glowing.
Ana blushed, her heart fluttering. She bit her lip and looked down.
"Thanks, you're a good teacher," she mumbled before rushing out of the room as fast as she could. As she made her way to her parents' car, she couldn't wipe the smile off of her face.
"Such a pretty girl," Jack mumbled to himself, the rays of the setting sun casting an eery glow onto his skin, "too bad I'm going to have to kill her."
October 31, 1997
"You're so stupid," he cursed, his voice hushed. He wasn't actually saying the words to anyone, more so to himself.
Ana's eyes fluttered open. To her disappointment, she was still in the hospital. For a faint second, she hoped that this whole ordeal had been a bad dream and soon she would be waking up nestled into the fluffy pillows adorned around her bed.
"I know you are, but what am I?" She croaked out, her voice dry and harsh.
He sucked his teeth. "What, are we five again?" He mumbled.
"I wish," she admitted, "it was a lot easier back then."
Ana played with the hospital band around her wrist, sighing at the situation she was in. It was like some after school special - Hey kids, don't go to parties. If you do, you might fall off a two-story balcony and get drugged!
"Yeah... It actually kind of was."
She looked at Christian, an eyebrow raised. He was agreeing with her for once?
"You agree with me? Hell must have froze over."
He ran a hand through his hair, his eyes casted downwards. The angry and hateful expression from earlier completely gone from his face. Now, he just looked empty.
"I haven't been the best brother lately... And I'm sorry," he said, looking into her eyes. His grey orbs were dark and lifeless. Seeing the hurt expression on his face made Ana feel nauseous.
"You don't have to apologize," she assured, "I get it. You just have a lot on your plate."
"Don't make excuses for me!" He snapped, "I am a horrible person and everyone around me just ends up.. Broken. It's like I'm some disease that sucks the life out of everyone around me."
Ana sat up, her heart breaking with each word he spoke. What happened last night was not his fault and she hated to see him blame himself. She was the one who was irresponsible, not him.
"Christian, stop," she demanded, "I did this to myself. I shouldn't have lied to mom and dad."
"It's not just that... It's everything. You were always happy and carefree... Now you're like me. I hate to see you so alone and sad. And I know that it's my fault," he whispered, his voice raspy.
"I'm not sad! I'm happy all the time."
She smiled, trying to get him to see that there was nothing wrong with her; but in the back of her mind she knew that there was something wrong. It wasn't Christian entirely, it was something so much deeper and she didn't even know what she was feeling.
"But I abandoned you.. Everyone! Don't you see? You even said it to me yourself. I hurt people and then have the audacity to be upset when bad things happen to them."
"We all have our own problems, you can't blame yourself."
"Neither can you. You have to admit at least that I have been hurting you."
"Yes, but that's not-"
"See?" He demanded, "I've been bringing bad luck to people since I've been born."
"No! You can't possibly think that, Christian. You make a lot of people happy-"
He laughed harshly, his eyes turning dark. "Happy? I make people happy?"
"You make me happy."
Ana looked down, not able to argue that point with him. Lately, all he had been doing is hurting her.. But that doesn't mean he's bad luck; and it doesn't mean that he's a horrible person. If he were horrible, she wouldn't be able to love him. She loved him, plain and simple. So much that she couldn't stop thinking about him, or wanting to be around him, or hoping that he would notice when she did something good. She wanted him to be proud of her, to think that she was pretty.. To love her.
"Yeah, not lately... But it doesn't matter." She grabbed his hand and placed it in between hers, "you're my brother and I love you unconditionally. No matter what, I could never hate you or think you're a horrible person. I hate for you to think that about yourself," she insisted.
"Why? What's so good about me? I'm not like you, I'm not nice, or selfless, or charming.. I'm just an asshole," he argued, his voice defiant and harsh.
"I just do... And love doesn't need an explanation," she shrugged, not able to explain why she felt the way she did. Did she even need to? The heart feels what it feels and it wants what it wants.. Why make things complicated by trying to explain it?
Christian looked at her, long and hard. His eyes softened, turning so clear they looked almost limpid. He pulled her against him, burying her into his chest. She wrapped her arms around him, breathing a sigh of comfort and ease. Her body had felt so tense and empty, but now she felt complete. She closed her eyes, revealing in Christian's warmth and smell. After a few moments, she felt warm drops on the nape of her neck. They slowly trickled down to the small of her back, where they were absorbed by the hospital blanket. She hugged him tighter.
It was the first time she had seen Christian cry.
First, I want to say Ana would never take drugs on her own.. So someone definitely had something to do with it. Jack will become very dangerous in the future chapters and look forward to more peaceful and affectionate interactions between Christian and Ana.
Thank you guys so much for reading and following, I appreciate it a lot! Life has been hectic lately, so please bear with me. Update days will be sporadic, but I hope I will have more time to write.
Don't forget to review Xx